NBA legend Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash that occurred in Southern California on Sunday morning.
Bryant was among five people aboard the helicopter that crashed with no survivor. He was aged 41.
The crash in Calabasas and deaths were confirmed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department though the Sheriffs did not mention Kobe’s name.
The 41-year-old former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star’s death was confirmed by TMZ.
The outlet reported that Bryant was traveling with four other people in his private helicopter when it crashed, killing everyone on board.
Officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department responded to reports of the crash near Las Virgenes Rd and Willow Glen St in Calabasas at around 10am after a fire broke out.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. Witnesses reported hearing the helicopter’s engine sputtering before it went down.
It is unclear where the chopper departed from or where it was headed.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their four daughters – Gianna, Natalia and Bianca, and newborn Capri.
The Philadelphia native spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, winning five NBA championships and 18 All-Star titles before he retired in 2016.
He was the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons.
Bryant has been known to use a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter to travel for years – often flying from Newport Beach to the Staples Center for Lakers games.
We dare not imagine what his family is going through today, his wife Vanessa and their four daughters. The Lakers and NBA legend continued to be present in the media through his analyzes of play sequences on ESPN, but also as a father very present for his children, in particular, Gianna, who inherited the talent of the family for basketball.
It is difficult to say that there will be NBA games tonight that will be played. How many of the current players in the league have Kobe Bryant as their idol? How many have played with him or crossed paths with him and will be able to fight an encounter without collapsing while thinking of their tragically disappeared comrade?
The next few days and weeks will be tough for basketball fans. Particularly those who grew up admiring one who will undoubtedly remain one of the most remarkable and talented sportsmen in history.
4th best scorer in NBA history
Retired from the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016, Kobe Bryant was until yesterday the 3rd best scorer in NBA history, before being overtaken by his rival LeBron James, Saturday during the Lakers’ defeat in Philadelphia (108-91).
The death of Kobe Bryant comes 25 days after the death of David Stern, the former “commissioner” of the NBA who had made him prosper and become a global brand.